New watchdog to monitor 'restrictive practices' in ACT schools

Minister Stephen-Smith talking

Steven Trask

A new watchdog position has been established in the ACT to oversee the use of restrictive practices by schools and disabilities services.

Restrictive practices are defined as any measure that restricts the "freedom of movement of a person for the primary purpose of protecting the person or others from harm".

Legislation establishing the position comes in the wake of a scandal revealed in 2015, in which a 10-year-old boy with autism was placed in a blue cage inside a Canberra school.

ACT: number of autistic prisoners

To:RATTENBURY <> CC:Rachel Stephen-Smith <>,, Mr Andrew Barr MLA <>, STEPHEN-SMITH <> Dear Minister We note Emily Baker's story, ACT government unsure how many prisoners have disability, in the Canberra Times (3/6/2018). We are not aware of any stakeholder engagement on this issue which is disappointing since autism spectrum disorder is currently the biggest distinct disability type in the NDIS.

letter to Carers ACT

Carers ACT logo


I was told that at one of your recent workshops, the presenter and a Carer's ACT staff member told a mother of an autistic child that in order for the child to be eligible for the NDIS she needed an updated autism diagnosis if their child was diagnosed under the (pre-2013) DSM-IV.

Please do not tell people this, I understand that this is incorrect. The text of the DSM-5 (available at, the updated/post-2013 manual, says:

'Good intentions' of NDIS lost to bureaucracy as Canberrans struggle

Sherryn Groch

The "good intentions" of the National Disability Insurance Scheme have been lost in its increasingly "rigid" bureaucracy and people are falling through the cracks, an ACT government inquiry has heard.

Speaking to the committee on Friday, Jodie Griffiths-Cook of the ACT Human Rights Commission warned of a "potential mismatch between the culture" of the National Disability Insurance Agency, which manages the scheme, and the legislation from which it was born.

SOfASD & A4 - submission on the NDIS

stamps saying "submission"

Here is the submission from Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD) and Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) to the Inquiry into the implementation, performance and governance of the National Disability Insurance Scheme being conducted by the Health, Ageing and Community Services Committee of the ACT Legistaltive Assembly.

The submission concludes:

NDIA, autism stakeholders and early intervention

Re: Letter from Minister Stephen-Smith
Sun, 8 Apr 2018 12:03:58 +1000
Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) <>
Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)

Minister R. Stephen-Smith MLA
ACT Legislative Assembly

Dear Ms Stephen-Smith MLA

Thank you for your response to our email. I also appreciate the time you spend talking to me at your "mobile office" on the 2-MAR-2018.

I am intrigued by the paragraph in your response that says:

I note that you also raised concerns with Ms De Luca regarding the NDIA Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach as it relates to autism. The ACT Government is aware that there are a number of community concerns relating to the ECEI approach as outlined in your correspondence. The Office for Disability is actively working with the NDIA both at a national and regional level to address these concerns and hopes to influence a positive outcome.

I expect that the precise "number" that you refer to in "a number of community concerns" is zero.

Gai BRODTMANN - Canberrans let down by NDIS failures

Gai Brodmann and Chris Ullman sitting on their lounge

Canberra was one of the first places in Australia to roll out the National Disability Insurance Scheme trial, a trial that was designed by a Labor government and was warmly welcomed by so many in my community.

However, the mood at the moment is not as warm. Fast-forward to 2017 and early 2018, and the stories I'm hearing are of people so frustrated with the current NDIS that they are near breaking point. They are so frustrated they are considering pulling out of the NDIS altogether.

Marymead, NDIS deal gives reprieve for families shut out of respite

Families shut out of respite care in Canberra have been granted a last-minute reprieve after a deal was struck between Marymead and the National Disability Insurance Agency over the weekend.

But the ACT government and advocates have warned the solution is only temporary, described by families as a "bandaid" fix, and further work is needed to address national funding shortfalls in overnight care for young people with disabilities.​


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